We serve Christians around the world whose brave faith in Jesus means they are, beaten, threatened, imprisoned, tortured, falsely accused, disowned and hated.

COUNTING THE COST: AYESHA’S BRAVE FAITH

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“We are thankful to those women who tried to kill her.” That’s what Ayesha’s* uncle told the authorities, after she was stabbed for being a Christian. Can you imagine your own relatives being grateful to your would-be murderer?

Ayesha is a Somali Christian, living in the Horn of Africa outside Somalia. The attack happened one Sunday when Ayesha was returning from work. “I came home, in front of my door, and a woman stabbed me in the back with a knife,” Ayesha remembers. She turned to face her assailant. “She stabbed me again, near the heart. I fell and was taken to hospital.”

Ayesha underwent life-saving operations. Later, she learned that three women had attacked her, not just one – but even more shocking was her family’s cruelty. “My uncle went to the authorities and told them, ‘She is my niece, and we are happy that she was about to be killed, because she became our enemy.’” The women were all released. Ayesha has been to court three times, but the authorities will not punish the people who tried to murder her.

Rejected by her family

Why did Ayesha’s family consider her ‘our enemy’ – to the point where they wanted her dead? It’s because she decided to follow Jesus. Like most of the small number of Somali Christians, Ayesha converted from Islam. It wasn’t a decision she made lightly. She knew it would cost her a great deal.

She quickly learned that this choice came at a price. “When I received Jesus, I also received many problems – I lost my family, my husband and my people.”

Her family are even trying to take her children away from her. “They say, ‘We are a wealthy family. We will give you a good life, we will take you to a very expensive school, we will take you to the Islamic school – the Quran is the truth, and you can be forgiven and earn paradise.’”

Ayesha is proud to say that her sons, Hussan, Hassen and Ali refuse these offers. They have also chosen to follow Jesus, and continue to do so despite this opposition and ostracism.

All this pressure and the violent attack have taken their toll on her faith. She says: “I decided 100 times to leave Jesus and not to follow Him – but I couldn’t do it,” says Ayesha. “The person who believes and receives Jesus cannot go back, no matter what.

“We see what Jesus went through, even though He is God,” she continues. “They persecuted Him; He endured all this. When you remember this, it motivates you to be strong.”

“Do not be afraid; you are stronger than any situation. You are a child of God. We are saved.”

AYESHA, SOMALIA

Ayesha
Ayesha’s three sons support her and also follow Jesus, despite opposition

Ayesha’s empathy for persecuted Christians

Ayesha’s painful experiences help her to encourage and have empathy for other believers going through similar situations. “I remind all my brothers and sisters, who are Christian converts from Islam and are persecuted, of the verse that says those who follow Jesus must carry their cross,” she says, referring to Luke 14:27. “He did not hide anything from us. He told us the truth: if you want to follow Him, take up your cross. That is the decision you make the day you choose Christ.”

She adds: “Do not be afraid; you are stronger than any situation. You are a child of God. We are saved.”

Open Doors partners are standing alongside Ayesha, and have done for years – from paying some medical bills to helping her start a small business to providing trauma care.

“I want to give thanks to Jesus,” she says. “He showed me the light, and I thank Him – and I thank you all.”

*Names changed for security reasons

PRAY NOW FOR THOSE THAT...
1

For Ayesha and her sons to stand strong for Christ in the face of persecution and rejection

3

That the gospel will break through the strongholds of Somali culture and that more people will encounter Jesus and choose to follow Him.

2

That Open Doors partners in region will persevere in the work that God has set before them

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